Challenges ahead for PTI government and Imran Khan By Ansar Mahmood Bhatti
Let us begin with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to the General Headquarters (GHQ) on August 30, 2018 where he was given unprecedented welcome. The visit was unique in many ways. The prime minister spent eight long hours at the GHQ attending briefings on various operational as well administrative matters. Most importantly, the senior military leadership including the Army Chief stood in a queue and saluted the prime minister one by one. It was ostensibly a historic moment for Imran Khan as Prime Minister as it was happening perhaps for the first time. We had not witnessed such moments before so Imran Khan must be feeling elated and privileged.
Imran Khan’s visit to GHQ and army’s welcome carries huge significance. It undoubtedly heralds new era of civil-military relations. Army’s gesture is a clear manifestation of its desire to work hand-in-hand with the democratically elected government of PTI. Therefore we can say, Imran Khan will have full support of military in terms of strengthening of democracy in Pakistan and improvement of security situation plus fulfilling of his agenda. Economy is yet another factor that plays a key role in making or breaking of civil-military relationships therefore Imran Khan’s government will have to tackle economy-related issues head-on because if economy is not functioning well, the entire country and the instructions start to suffer.
The body language of PTI ministers shows as if they are facing problems in tackling core issues. These issues perhaps turn out be stupendous and beyond their expectations. However, it is hoped that with the passage of time they will be able to manage their affairs provided they stick to guidelines spelled out in Imran Khan’s victory speech and then first speech as prime minister.
Just a couple of weeks in the office, Prime Minister Imran Khan and his team have already started feeling the heat. People were expecting from Imran Khan that he will put together a team free from all kinds of blemishes. But maybe in coalition governments such problems arise and you may not find clean people at least in the beginning of your stint.
In Punjab selection of Usman Buzdar as Punjab Chief Minister seems to have proved counter-productive. PTI leadership needs to either re-visit this decision or issue necessary guidelines to the CM in order to avoid any further embarrassment. Good governance appears to be the cornerstone of PTI’s manifesto and that is what Imran Khan preached during his election rallies therefore any complacency in this field will add to PTI’s problems.
On Friday August 31 the Prime Minister while talking to a group of senior journalists assured that he will not compromise on good governance. He asked the media to give them only three months. Imran Khan’s demand seems quite logical because they are still in a take off position and it will take some time for them to achieve stability. Agreed, but it is possible only when they know exactly where they are heading towards.
Imran Khan and his government are keen to promote and strengthen relations with the neighbours including India and Afghanistan. With China too they want to have even stronger relations albeit with a different approach. Chinese, according to some reports, are worried about their projects despite the fact that PTI has given them assurances that nothing will happen to these projects especially CPEC. Some PTI leaders however are of the view that Chinese promoted relations with Sharif family on individual basis thus ignoring altogether the principle of state-to-state relations. Only Sharifs were invited to China every time when they wanted to discuss some projects thus ignoring other three provinces including KPK where PTI was ruling at that time.
People of Pakistan have pinned too many hopes on Imran Khan. They voted him to power only because they think he can rid the country of menaces such as corruption; nepotism; jobbery and economic mismanagement. Also, people are expecting some immediate relief in the shape of cut in prices of daily use items and utility services. Quite recently the government has decreased fuel prices, which is a good step. More such steps would surely help govt have smooth sailing in the coming days.
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